Light Speed and Catastrophe 1

Barry Setterfield
January, 2000, revised August, 2007


After Creation, the earth’s land-mass formed one super-continent surrounded by seas. This land-mass was broken up by a series of catastrophes. The earth’s mantle (like meteorites) contained up to 13% water in minerals such as serpentine. Rapid radioactive heating of the earth’s interior, due to high light-speed, drove this water to the surface as springs and geysers. The major mantle mineral today is olivine, which is simply serpentine with the water removed. With time, this water built up under the crust and came to contain high quantities of dissolved silica and other minerals. Rapid radioactive heating encouraged the intrusion of granitic massifs during Archaean and early Proterozoic times. Associated basal sediments of the super-continent were metamorphosed. These stabilised regions became the cratons or shield areas of the super-continent. This left the remaining areas to become mobile belts during Catastrophe 1, when they down-warped. Associated strong vertical movements of the crust formed the incipient tectonic plates. As the catastrophe continued, the sedimentary cover to the cratons was swept into the troughs which later stabilised and uplifted.

This catastrophe gave rise to the rocks that lie immediately below the fossiliferous Cambrian strata. That period used to be called the infra-Cambrian or Eocambrian. It is now usually designated the New-Proterozoic.

In the New-Proterozoic is a debris layer of gravels, pebbles, cobbles and boulders called a conglomerate, or diamictite. Dott and Batten expressed it this way: “The most remarkable trademark of Eocambrian rocks is the presence of peculiar unsorted boulder-bearing deposits slightly below the fossiliferous Cambrian strata…They have been found on practically all continents.” Today this layer is referred to as the Snowball Earth strata. Ager adds to this, saying that “In fact it is even more remarkable than this. … the whole deepening succession tends to turn up almost everywhere; i.e. a basal conglomerate, followed by a quartzite followed by sandstones, followed by marine shales and thin limestones.” Even Geikie recognised this as early as 1903. He said “The rocks of the early Cambrian system present considerable uniformity of lithological character over the globe.”

In the northern Flinders ranges of South Australia this debris layer is made of boulders and is 250 metres thick. Around Olary, the complete debris layer is 2300 metres thick. In Scotland the sequence is about 750 metres thick. The world-wide nature of this basal conglomerate was the subject of an article in New Scientist for 1 February 1992. That article attributed this debris layer to an ice-age, but had to admit several problems with that interpretation. First, the ice-age included all the low-lying land in the tropics and the equatorial region. Normally ice sheets are associated with high land or polar areas. Neither condition is valid in this case. Second, the presence of carbonates in the form of dolomites and limestones is enigmatical in ice-bound conditions since these carbonates usually form in warm water. To re-emphasise this, the Neo-Proterozoic carbonates are rich in the heavy isotope of oxygen, namely oxygen-18, which decreases towards the poles and so is a warm water indicator. Given these constraints, it would seem that this world-wide deposit of boulders and debris that rests on top of the eroded layer, may be explicable by the action of vast amounts of warm to hot water extruded from the earth’s interior in Catastrophe 1 rather than a massive ice-age.

For example, at Adelaide, South Australia, this sequence comprises a layer of cobbles and gravel in a dolomitic matrix 300 metres thick. It is called the Sturt Tillite. This is followed by the Tapley Hilles sequence of laminated slates and shales, rich in carbon, from a deep water environment. This layer is 2500 metres thick. There is then the characteristic limestone capping to the whole series. Elsewhere in South Australia, windblown sand deposits are contemporaneous with these layers. This means there was not a snowball earth condition existing at that time, but rather, that the sequence was formed by a worldwide episode involving hot water exploding out of the earth's interior. This initial explosion of waters in certain areas would have created the violent air conditions resulting in the windblown sand deposits which then were shortly after inundated with the flood waters.

This catastrophe divides the geological column into two sections -- the Cryptozoic and the Phanerozoic. The Cryptozoic strata were formed before the catastrophe discussed here and the Phanerozoic afterwards. The catastrophe itself is dated around 700 million years ago by the atomic clock, using radiometric dating. When the changing Zero Point Energy and resultant light speed change are used to correct atomic dating to conform to calendar, or orbital dating, this catastrophe occurred around 3550 BC. When this correction is taken into account, it appears to be evident that any strata before this event formed in the preceding 2250 years, and that any strata after were formed in the following 1220 years. This demarcation of Catastrophe 1 corresponds to the biblical Flood of Noah.

Further more extended information may be found in the "Snowball Earth...?" article as well as in "A Brief Earth History."